Round 1 Reserves: Simpson Sinks Sharks

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 11:38 AM

By Daniel Scamozzi

A team-high eight marks and game-high six goals from full-forward Eddie Simpson helped Claremont’s Reserves record a thrilling two-point win against East Fremantle in glorious conditions at Claremont Oval in the opening round of the 2019 Optus WAFL Premiership Season.

The Tigers prevailed 15.8 (98) to 14.12 (96) in a seesawing contest, with Simpson sinking the Sharks in the 27th minute of the final term after coolly converting a well-weighted pass from the dashing Jack Beeck.

Simpson’s strong marking and accurate finishing was the difference between the teams, and saw him named Claremont’s best player and win the players’ player award.

Midfielder Alec Waterman (18 disposals), who has an unmatched ability to pinpoint passes with his thumping and accurate left boot, laid a game-high eight tackles and performed strongly, while wingman Tom Ledger (six tackles, two goals) ran tirelessly to record game-high tallies of 25 disposals and nine inside 50s.

Jake Anderson (17 disposals, five inside 50s, one goal) continued his strong form from the pre-season with his ball-winning ability and repeat efforts, including an inspirational tackle at half-forward in the final term that won the Tiger a free kick, while small forward Corey Mitchell had a hand in several goals and terrorised East Fremantle’s defence with his work rate and blistering pace.

Forward Jack Perham kicked five goals for the Sharks, who recorded three more scoring shots but were pipped by the accurate Tigers.

With experienced defender Jesse Laurie captaining the team, the Tigers kicked to the southern end of the ground in the opening term and provided the crowd with a taste of things to come when Mitchell set Simpson up for the opening goal of the game.

A smother from the busy Ledger typified the tough and contested start to the contest, before the hard-running Tiger finished with aplomb after the vigorous Hamish McMorran found him by hand.

The electrifying Chris (CJ) Oakley then made it three consecutive goals for the Tigers after efforts from Mitchell and Simpson, before Perham got the Sharks on the board.

Centre half-forward Kaiden Gilbert replied with the Tigers’ fourth goal in a passage of play that began with full-back Lewis Davis hauling in a strong mark and involved Ledger and Isaac Wallace, before the Sharks kicked two late majors to close to within two points at quarter-time.

The Tigers were ahead in clearances but trailing in inside 50s as coach Brayden Duckworth encouraged the team to hit the 45 degree kicks, before Simpson gave the hosts a great start to the second term when he kicked his second goal after a kick-to-advantage from Beeck.

Beeck then landed a booming goal from the boundary line that was reminiscent of his brilliant finish at Lathlain Park last season, before the Sharks replied with consecutive majors.

Anderson steadied for the Tigers after some terrific contested efforts from McMorran, before three goals, including two more to Perham, gave the Sharks a five-point lead at half-time.

The Sharks then made the Tigers pay for some sloppiness in defence as they took a 12-point lead early in the second half, before another brilliant finish on the run from Ledger pulled the hosts to within one straight kick.

Ledger then found Jordon Reid who kicked truly after a strong tackle from Gilbert, before the Sharks replied with their 10th goal.

Reid then set Simpson up for his third major with a spearing pass before Gilbert kicked his second after a blistering run and handball from Mitchell.

A great chain of passes from defence saw Simpson kick his fourth goal and gave the Tigers a 12-point lead at the final change, with Duckworth praising the team’s “spreading”.

Simpson then kicked the first goal of the term for the third time in the game after Anthony Treacy won a free kick for a great tackle and burst away to deliver a great pass, before Cooper Nitschke delivered outstanding pressure and laid repeat tackles.

The Sharks replied with three consecutive goals to take a two-point lead, before Wallace brilliantly picked up the ball, turned sharply and finished with aplomb from 50m.

The Sharks replied with their 14th goal to reclaim the lead, before Simpson marked in the left-forward pocket at the northern end, opened up the angle and split the middle to deliver the Tigers a pulsating win.

The Tigers will aim for consecutive wins when they face West Perth at Joondalup Arena in round two.

Meanwhile, Claremont’s Colts suffered an agonising two-point defeat against East Fremantle, 10.6 (66) to 9.10 (64).

CLAREMONT 4.0 7.6 12.8 15.8 (98)

EAST FREMANTLE 3.4 8.5 10.8 14.12 (96)

GOALS

CLAREMONT: 6 E. Simpson, 2 T. Ledger, K. Gilbert, 1 J. Beeck, I. Wallace, C. Oakley, J. Anderson, J. Reid.

EAST FREMANTLE: 5 J. Perham, 2 D. Anthony, B. Teakle, 1 S. Fletcher, C. Robinson, N. Bonomelli, C. Holmes, A. Montauban.

BEST

CLAREMONT: E. Simpson, A. Waterman, T. Ledger, J. Anderson, C. Mitchell.

EAST FREMANTLE: J. Perham, A. Montauban, L. Bailey, N. Watson, Z. Jackson.